Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Have embroidery, will travel

These last two weeks have been so busy - what with fulltime childcare in the Easter holidays, and having to pretty much abandon my crafting room to prep for some plumbing work taking place this week - that any stitching time has been snatched either late at night or briefly and out on the go. Although I do all my project planning, photography and writing in the two and a half hours each morning my four year old attends playgroup, I tend to do most of my stitching while out and about. I have my local 'STITCH' group every Thursday for two hours, which is when I do the bulk of my weekly stitching. I also take my stitching along to many of my daughter's activities, so while she's bobbing along to Zumba I have a fine hour of stitching to work on in another room. Beats heading back home for half an hour to do housework!
Because I may want to grab my embroidery to take with me at any time, I keep all of my current embroidery projects in a rigid A4 plastic box that I picked up from a standard stationary shop. I copied this idea from an excellent embroidery friend of mine Bea, who used the same type of travel storage. This box is fairly rugged and solid, and protects the work inside, and fits in my usual A4 satchel-type handbag.
Ready to go!
The great thing about keeping all my current work in this box is that  I can just grab it and go - everything is kept neat and safe, meaning that everything I need to get on with those projects are all gathered in one place. When it's very full, I use large rubber bands just to make sure it stays shut.

The contents of the box are usually as follows:
  • Scissors - large for snipping fabric, small embroidery scissors for thread. Note though that my lovely small embroidery scissors I featured in this blog here when I bought them aren't in the picture. They haven't turned up since the house move, but they must be somewhere!
  • Needle book - I use my own handmade needlebook that has plenty of room for needles and pins, bits and bobs of fabric  etc. in here, and the small scissors.
  • Current projects - my box can just about fit two 15cm hooped projects, or one 20cm hooped project, and that's usually enough to keep in there for heading out for short periods or a holiday.
  • Ziploc bag of floss - and some on a pretty pink horse thread holder for those projects that are a bit more 'ad hoc'.
  • Fabric pen - for those last minute pattern additions!
Surprisingly spacious!
I must warn you however - maintenance of this travel pack is essential! Usually after a few weeks work the box needs a clear out. No matter how much I try and keep it tidy, there is always a moment when I just have to stuff the thing back in my bag at a moments notice and loose threads are just thrown in. Keep doing this and everything becomes a bit of a tangled mess. See the picture below - only two weeks use after the last clearout!
How do the threads do that? One time, before I started a regular clear out, I couldn't even open or remove my needle book from the box, it was like some kind of thread ivy had grown around the book and attached it to the box, slowly taking over everything. I had to use scissors and put lots of potentially usable bits of thread in the bin that day.

The ziploc bag also needs to be cleared out, and skeins no longer being used should be put back where they belong. To make this process easier I use a small 'thread to be filed' box, where I can stuff these partly-used skeins until I have time to return them to the appropriate colour box, or wind them onto cardboard bobbins for my bobbin box. Also, I often forget to 'de-hoop' my projects, which of course you should always do rather than leave your projects in hoops for days (maybe even weeks - ooops), which is one downside of the 'travel pack'.

So, I'm hoping that my craft room will be back in use next week, after the new pipework gets boxed in, and I might even get some paint on the walls! Here's a picture of how it looks now with all the furniture crammed into one corner *sad face*.
To make up for the sad looking craft room, at least I'm been taking my photos here this week in the sunshine. Kinda makes up for the disruption a little.
Maybe lunch outside today?


  1. We don't need to worry about how to fill our time when we have children to ferry around! Great idea to take stitching with you. I love your gorgeous needlecase, you've done a fabulous job x

  2. Great and helpful post I will be taking some of your tips with me :) I love the pink horse thread holder!! I'm glad I'm not the only one who ends up with tangled messes of threads